With the setting sun came a hint of ground fog, bringing out the mosquitoes, biting at my ankles.
Are there mosquitoes in the underworld? The stings remind me I am mortal. Would my quick makeover help me pass among the ghosts, ghastly clowns, vampires, zombies, and the other dead that haunt Scarowinds?
The path among the labyrinth of mazes, scare zones and rides had been carefully chosen to minimize my exposure. Screams fill the night air. The masters of mayhem had already found victims.
My stealth was rewarded as I arrived at the Blood Yard, an urban wasteland of tires and shipping containers, undetected – but not for long.
A hulking presence of even greater stealth silently emerged.
“Underlord?” I stammered.
“OVERLORD!,” he exploded. His guttural voice spoke of power.
I had found the object of my quest, Overlord, ruler of the underworld at Scarowinds.
After a few seconds of terror, I regained my composure, remembering that Overlord was powerless, no longer ruler of the dead. Lilith the Witch ruled Scarowinds.
“How did it happen? I have no idea,” Overlord said. “I’m depressed. I want to come back to the Clock Tower, but I wake up in the park, confused.”
Overlord says he has ruled the underworld at Scarowinds for “years.” The first Scarowinds opened in 2000 with fewer than 100 creatures hiding in the darkness of Voodoo Island, the Maze of Madness, the House of Darkness and Terror Vision, ready to scare the unsuspecting.
Scarowinds now has seven mazes, five scare zones and 500 creatures of the night. The master of Scarowinds rules from the Clock Tower.
Overlord remembers Lilith the Witch showing up at the Clock Tower “and the next thing I know one-half of my army is gone. Soon, I have the feeling they all will be gone.”
“She has been twisting them, making them more evil and dark, which I’m all for. But I just don’t like it when they don’t share their fear with me.”
And just as quickly as he arrived, Overlord departs. Soon a piercing, staccato series of “Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha,” fills the night air. Lilith the Witch has arrived at the Blood Yard, perhaps sensing the presence of Overlord.
She turns with a hardened stare, her evil eyes asking what do you want. Yet there is a glimmer of beauty, too. Was she once a beautiful princess? What could have turned her to the darkness?
Those questions go unanswered. She concentrates on the fight with Overlord.
“I laid in wait and I watched,” she explains. “I observed, noticed the weaknesses and the opportunities to take the power from Overlord and turn his army to my side,” she said.
What was Overlord’s weakness?
“His compassion for his creatures,” she responds with a devilish whine. “The kindness he showed is something that is not TOLERABLE! You must rule with eeeeee-vil filling your heart.”
Can Overlord overthrow you?
“I keep him trapped here with the delusion that someday he will take control, But, by the end of the season, he will be banished to another realm.”
Overlord, has other ideas. “It will take a bit of tricks here and there and just a little bit more of darkness to rise above it all.”
An epic battle for power is anticipated this weekend as Scarowinds concludes its season. The result of the battle, say both Overlord and Lilith, rests in those who come to test darkness, to show their fear.
“It all depends how much fear comes into the park,” Overlord said. “The more fear that comes in, the stronger I will get. Hopefully, I will be able to take back my crown. . . Fear, that’s what I grow off.”
Fear, Lilith said, rests with her. Scarowinds’ guests, “fear my creatures, fear the darkness. They scream and run, they cry and cower in our presence.”
How does that make you feel?
“Empowered,” she shrieked., “Empowered and wonderful. ... I am the power!”